There seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding among men and women. I have a great friend and he’s a guy. We constantly have miscommunications, and while this is just things that I have learned through my reading or interactions I hope that it may help some of you better communicate with one another.
1. When a woman wants to tell you her problems she wants you to listen; not fix it or advise her.
How many times has this happened: You walk in frustrated or upset, and start to tell you boyfriend or male friend what has you so riled up. You aren’t even finished and they jump in to tell you what you need to do. “Just quit your job if you’re so unhappy”
“That’s not what I want, I’m just trying to tell you…”
“I don’t know what you want, I’m trying to help you here”
Listen here Men, we aren’t necessarily looking for you to fix our problems or give us advice (unless we specifically ask you to), we want to be able to vent. We don’t want you fix things; we want you to empathize with us. Key words: I understand how you feel, I’m sorry, and I can only imagine how you feel. We understand that as men your need and want to fix things, but in cases like these, please just LISTEN to us.
2. Men feel more comfortable talking if doing something- like sports.
One of my favorite movies When Harry Met Sally shows perfectly how men and women interact best when communicating. The scene when Harry is telling his best friend about how his wife left him is a perfect example of when men are most comfortable to open up. They were at Football game, sitting side by side (no real eye contact), and participating in the occasional wave. Sally on the other hand tells her girlfriends that she is no longer with Joe over brunch, all facing one another and making eye contact while talking. Which brings me to say; If you expect to talk to one another about something substantial do it in a manner that will make that person comfortable. Don’t expect men to open up about their life over breakfast while they read the paper.
3. Men: “Get to the point!” vs. Women and details
Men don’t care for details; they just want to get to the point.
“I went to the gym and then Home Depot.”
This isn’t to say that we women wont do that, but when we share information we tend to give more details than probably needed- okay, we give more details. The more we want to build a connection to the person we’re talking to, we give a little more. If a woman doesn’t care much she will give you two words and be done with it (Men: this also happens when we are upset with you, you know what I’m talking about). This brings a lot of hurt to both parties; one is aggravated, and the other left thinking they aren’t important enough to be heard. Let’s try and understand where we are coming from. Let us know if we take too long telling a story, but just know it’s long because we love you.
4. Conversation vs. Lecture
Have you ever had a phone conversation with a male friend of yours and it quickly turns into a lecture? I have, repeatedly. Why is it that most men have the need to do this? Once again their need to lead, to be the voice of guidance comes through. When I talk to my girlfriends I don’t lecture, we share. Men: Please try and stray from this, it makes us feel like we’re in a classroom and you’re the professor- and NOT the good kind.
5. Identifying emotions- Women: We’re just trying to let you know we understand.
When my friend calls me and tells me about how he is bummed about something, I recall a similar occasion. I am not trying to turn the conversation over on me, rather I am trying to show you that I understand. But he doesn’t see that. He quickly gets angry and thinks that I am speaking specifically about my problem and no longer listening to him. He usually then lectures me and then says that this conversation is over. In this case, I might just have to act like a man and give him a solution, thus making a compromise.